Price: $395.00

    Code: 2646

    Directed by Anthony Banua-Simon
    2020, 90 minutes

    The Hawaiian island of Kauaʻi is seen as a paradise of leisure and pristine natural beauty, but these escapist fantasies obscure the colonial displacement, hyper-exploitation of workers and destructive environmental extraction that have actually shaped life on the island for the last 250 years. Cane Fire critically examines the island’s history — and the various strategies by which Hollywood has represented it—through four generations of director Anthony Banua-Simon’s family, who first immigrated to Kauaʻi from the Philippines to work on the sugar plantations. Assembled from a diverse array of sources—from Banua-Simon’s observational footage, to amateur YouTube travelogues, to epic Hollywood dance sequences — Cane Fire offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of the economic and cultural forces that have cast Indigenous and working-class residents as "extras" in their own story.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    Official Selection - 2021 MoMA Doc Fortnight
    Official Selection - 2020 Hot Docs International Film Festival
    Official Selection - 2021 Prismatic Ground (Maysles Documentary Center and Screen Slate)
    Official Selection - 2021 DOXA Documentary Film Festival
    Official Selection - 2020 Hawaiʻi International Film Festival
    Official Selection - 2021 Asian American International Film Festival
    Winner -"Best Feature Documentary" - 2020 Indie Memphis Film Festival
    Winner -"Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature" - 2021 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
    Winner-"Jason D. Mak Award for Social Justice" - 2021 DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon
    Winner -"Vijay Mohan Social Change Award" - 2021 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival


    "[T]remendous educational and moral value." 
    - Teo Bugbee, The New York Times

    "An indispensable watch, Banua-Simon’s first feature focuses on the island of Kauaʻi and the history of its exploitation as a colony, which endures under the guise of statehood."
    -Carlos Aguilar, The Wrap

    "[A] tale as old as America: vicious colonialism, greedy capitalism, rampant racism, and the erasure of local histories for exploitative ends."
    -Robert Daniels,

    "Through original and deftly assembled archival footage, Anthony Banua-Simon's debut documentary feature CANE FIRE considers the long arc of white, corporate economic & cultural pillaging of Hawaii."
    - Patrick Dahl, Screen Slate

    "A necessary corrective to the perception of Hawaiian identity that diagnoses the problem of representation in pop culture through the filmmaker’s own deeply personal lens."
    -Eric Kohn, Indiewire

    "CANE FIRE uncovers not one, but several underreported histories at the same time with equal parts reverence, relevance, and rage."
    -Andrew Parker, The Gate

    Further Reading

    In ‘Cane Fire,’ When an Image of Paradise Creates Loss
    The director Anthony Banua-Simon discusses his documentary about how the lives of Hawaii residents have been affected by tourism.